Amid Transport Strike, Tamil Nadu MLA Drives Government Bus

A overcrowded MTC bus plying on Anna Salai in Chennai on Saturday

Meanwhile, Vijaybhaskar appealed to striking workers to return to work. "Recourse to lighting strikes or flash strikes without notice leads to the consequences of denying the citizens of their right to free movement and is clearly illegal and against the public interest", the judge said while passing interim orders on a PIL filed in this regard.

To give some relief to the passengers few buses including the private ones hired on the contract were operated by the government with police protection to prevent any untoward incidents.

More than 15,000 government buses stayed off roads on Friday as transport workers declared an indefinite strike seeking salary hike and pay parity with drivers in other departments. The unions have also demanded a minimum basic salary of Rs 19,500, whereas the government proposed a salary of Rs 17,700.

"The government should invite us for talks and settle the issue amicably or the strike will intensify. the Chief Minister himself should intervene", he said.

"Appeal to employees to come back for duty, honorable court has also asked them to come back". He said, "Thirty employees refused to accept the agreement". If the government takes action, the employees must face it.

Students using an overcrowded bus in Tirunelveli
Students using an overcrowded bus in Tirunelveli

"If (the transport staff) continue with the protest and cause trouble to people, the government will not hesitate to take action as per law against them", he added.

General Secretary of DMK-backed LPF, M Shanmugam, said they were not anxious about action from the government since any protest would attract action. A Soundararajan, leader of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) claimed that only less than 10 percent of buses plied across the state on Friday.

The strike started on Thursday night after a meeting between union representatives and State transport minister MR Vijaybhaskar remained inconclusive.

In Thoothukudi district, more than 75% buses were off the road, much to the discomfort of rural people who had to rely on private buses. The commuters complained that auto rickshaws and taxis charged exorbitant fares as the public transport system was hit.

The striking unions wanted the "factor" for revision to be fixed at 2.57 while the government insisted it be 2.44.

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